A couple of renders to check how textures are looking – so far all the renders on this and previous posts have been single pass renders with all the bells and whistles, like radiosity and ambient occlusion, but usually I’d split these into passes for each attribute and then composite them (e.g. in After Effects) – this is a more flexible approach, especially if dealing with a sequence of frames.
Trying to achieve a sense of mood & scale when you don’t have any visual cues is an interesting exercise – it’s tempting to slap in a background of some sort – e.g. nebulas etc, but in space, unless you are very close, even stars might not resolve in a photographic image without long exposures – e.g. look at shots of the International Space Station where the Earth is absent from the image, or space walks.
Using the interactions of light and shade to create modelling are all you have to work with – in TV it’s necessary to put in these details since to the viewer they are a convenient visual shorthand for “space” and help to “orient” the viewer – but as we see more and more actual space footage, some in high definition, these depictions are challenged, & can seem unrealistic and flat.